Friday, April 3, 2009

A Roadmap to Lean: Implement Rapid Change

Part 6 of a 10 part series
In order for an organization to transform from its current state of operation to one of a Lean Enterprise Organization, a two phase approach – Planning and Implementation - can be utilized. The first step in the Implementation phase is to implement a process of rapid change by following the overall plan developed so far. In this step, we want to:
  • Form the Kaizen event for a specific improvement
  • Train work teams on new methods
  • Observe the process being addressed
  • Develop the Takt Time
  • Develop improvement ideas and a detailed action plan
  • Cut-over and monitor results

A Kaizen event is a team activity aimed at rapid use of lean methods and tools to eliminate waste in particular areas of business processes. The purpose of the Kaizen team is to investigate, analyze, and evaluate each process and every operation in order to add value and eliminate waste. This is usually done by a small group of people directly involved with the process being analyzed, however, it is also a good idea to include someone unrelated to the process in order to provide an un-biased opinion. Deliverables from this task can include:

  • Value stream mapping of the specific process
  • Work flow re-design and re-positioning of equipment
  • 5s - organizing the work place and standardizing processes
  • Standardized work for tasks being performed
  • Setup Reduction and shortened change over times
  • Visual “pull” for materials
  • Error proofing techniques for tasks
  • One piece flow (or at least significantly reduced batch sizes)
  • Cellular manufacturing / processing

The Kaizen event itself typically takes three to four days where the team develops solution ideas and a plan of action which is typically implemented within a month or two after the event is complete. In this way, results are quick and noticeable throughout the organization and the benefits from the Lean process are realized quickly so that the improvements directly affect the bottom line of the organization. Because of this quick return aspect of Lean Implementation, this process is a great way to make improvements during tough economic times and when the times improve, the results are that much more magnified. In addition to addressing the mechanics of going Lean, Managing the Culture Change is the next step in our roadmap.

Are you Best-in-Class?